BALLARAT could experience overcrowding in schools, after it was revealed the city will see a 22.6 per cent increase in school-aged children over the next 10 years.
A Grattan Institute analysis, prepared for The Age, showed Victorian schools must absorb 190,000 extra students between 2016 and 2026.
But for the first time in 15 years not a single new state school will open its doors when school returns next week.
Alfredton Primary School principal Laurel Donaldson expressed concern over the rapid rise in pupil numbers across Victoria, saying the Alfredton school was situated in one of the fastest growing areas in Ballarat.
She said the school had already had eight new enrolments this year, bumping numbers to 604 pupils.
“We are only able to run 24 classes because we don't have any additional classrooms,” Ms Donaldson said.
“We were always told (by the education department) our capacity is 600, which means classrooms are considered larger than we prefer.
“I have had ongoing contact with (the department) since the end of last year, particularly because we were more than likely to meet that 600.”
Ms Donaldson said the school maintained a strict enrolment policy that it could only accept enrolments within its neighbourhood area.
“We have to knock back parents because they are not in our neighbourhood zone,” she said.
Ms Donaldson said the new Catholic primary school set to open in 2017 at Lucas could alleviate the pressure from Alfredton Primary School and St Thomas More, but welcomed a new state school in Ballarat’s west.
Delacombe Primary School is another school situated a growing area, Winter Valley. It is currently undergoing a redevelopment to ensure it is set up for 18 classrooms to cater for 400 children in 2018-2019.
School principal Scott Phillips said in December that the school was growing rapidly, with 50 prep pupils to start next week.
Fifteen new Victorian state schools are set to open in 2017 and 2018.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.